‘Jessica Jones,’ ‘Supergirl’ Paving Way For More Female Superheroes?

Supergirl debuted on CBS two weeks ago, Jessica Jones debuts on Netflix in less than three weeks, and Wonder Woman will be released in 2017. It seems likely Hollywood has realized that women are tough, capable beings — all while being able to pack a powerful ratings punch.

Supergirl stars Meilssa Benoist as the titular superhero, a cousin to Superman, and answers to the name Kara when not saving the world. As Wales Online reports, viewers are more than ready for a female lead super hero: the first episode had 13 million U.S. viewers, the highest rated premiere so far this TV season.

Supergirl has so far taken the steps to show that feminism is nothing to be feared. In the pilot episode, the first words that Supergirl says are, “I’m not afraid,” instantaneously giving viewers a new role model. Supergirl actress Melissa Benoist elaborated on the feminist theme. “What’s feminist about it is it’s actually for everyone,” Melissa Benoist said.

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As the pilot sets up just who Supergirl is, viewers quickly discover that when it comes to saving others, she is practical first. When figuring out her costume, Supergirl quickly axes a crop top and underwear combo in favor of a more modest, yet still tight, outfit. How Supergirl is dressed is important as it outwardly conveys her personality. Reports Vulture, costume designer Colleen Atwood worried about the message it would convey.

“In designing Supergirl, I wanted to embrace the past, but more importantly, thrust her into the street-style action hero of today.”

Being street-worthy is definitely the theme of the current wave of female superheroes. Netflix’s TV adaption of comic book hero Jessica Jones stars Krysten Ritter, who uses her super powers as a private investigator. Jessica Jones also stars Carrie-Anne Moss, who plays Jeri Hogarth, an attorney who hires Jessica Jones. The relationship between the two women is refreshingly real and complex. Entertainment Weekly interviewed Krysten Ritter about both strong female characters Jessica Jones and Jeri Hogarth.

“It’s by far the most complex and interesting and special friendship between two women that I’ve seen in a movie or television. We’re there for each other in ways that we don’t see, but we’re never talking about a dude or an outfit. It’s a really pure bond.”

The buzz about Jessica Jones has been building for quite some time. A series of short trailers teased Krysten Ritter’s take on Jessica Jones. Trailers have also shown how dangerous Kilgrave — who plays the nemesis on Jessica Jones — can be. While most comments about the show have been positive, a few critics have wondered if going dark for Jessica Jones was the best idea for this series, the Inquisitr previously reported.

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Along with seeing more female superheroes like Supergirl and Jessica Jones on the TV screen, the film Wonder Woman is set to be released in 2017. Gal Gadot will re-introduce the character of Wonder Woman in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice(2016) alongside Ben Affleck’s Batman introduction before Wonder Woman stars in her own movie the following year. Before this reincarnation of Wonder Woman, the comic book character had been off television since 1979, a 36-year drought for television series based off female superhero leads.

With women finally getting an opportunity to represent their gender in superhero form, perhaps there’s hope for another film institution: the James Bond franchise. With the success of Supergirl and the positive buzz surrounding next month’s Jessica Jones and next year’s introduction of Wonder Woman, there’s hope female superheroes will continue to be portrayed on screen.

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Do you think that the Supergirl and Jessica Jones series are blazing a new trail for female superheroes? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Photos by Carlos Alvarez & Michael Loccisano / Getty Images]